Complete Streets

Safe Routes to Transit

Safe Routes to Transit is a slogan which promotes a vision for seamless and convenient bicycle and pedestrian access to public transportation. This access includes routes to stations, secure and available parking, and comprehensive on-board access. 

 

Most people cite safety as a primary motivation for using their cars to get to transit centers, thus the notion that an increase in accommodation for non-motorized modes will in turn increase the numbers of people choosing to leave their cars at home and walk or bicycle instead.

 

Safe Routes to Transit is also a very popular, competitive Bay Area funding program that was started via voter approval of Regional Measure 2 in March 2004. It is co-administered for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission by TransForm and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition.

 

The $20 million designated for Safe Routes to Transit is planned to expire with its last grant cycle in 2013. BABC is working to expand this funding program through 2035 via the 2009 Regional Transportation Plan campaign.

More Information:

See what Safe Routes to Transit projects are built or planned for the Bay Area

Regional Measure 2 Application Process

Safe Routes to School

The most mainstream bicycle advocacy movement in America is undoubtedly Safe Routes to School (SR2S).   The numbers of school children walking and biking to school has plummeted around the nation as roads have become more congested and more dangerous.  Over the same period, childhood obesity rates have climbed alarmingly.  SR2S is a cross-cultural, community-driven movement that works to combat both of these negative trends.

 

In 1998, Marin County received one of two of the nation’s first pilot study Safe Routes to School program grants.  These pilot studies evolved into a replicable program where schools and their parent communities utilize a combination of education, engineering and enforcement strategies to entice more students to walk and bicycle to school.

 

In July 2005, Congressed established a National SR2S program that would distribute $612 million from 2005 to 2009.  Additionally, in August 2005, the State of California began its own Safe Routes to School program.  The State’s program has brought many good projects to the Bay Area,, however only 1 of 5 SR2S applications are funded.

 

In many communities, driving kids to school comprises between 20 to 30% of morning traffic.  This seemingly local issue has become a regional problem, thus BABC is advocating for the creation of a regional SR2S program via the 2009 Regional Transportation campaign. We assert that the creation of a robust regional SR2S program will improve overall mobility, help stem the tide of climate change, and foster a new generation that values walking, bicycling and transit usage as preferred modes of travel.

Complete Streets

Ever walk down a street with no sidewalks?  Watched elderly folks trying to cross streets that are as wide as freeways?  Ridden on a street with no facilities, signage or room for bicyclists?

Complete Streets is a national movement that asserts that the streets of our cities and towns ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper.

Too many of our streets were designed without consideration of any user besides the motorist.  Now pedestrians and school children and retired persons and bicyclists are joining together both at the local and state level to ask planners, engineers and designers to build road networks for everyone.

To ensure this level of respect, policies and legislation are being written and passed.

Following this state decree, our regional transportation planning agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted Resolution 3765 (pdf), a policy that declares that all projects “shall consider the accommodation of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.” MTC has since developed a Routine Accommodation checklist that all applicants for funding must complete. (Often in the planning/engineering/design world, “routine accommodation” is used instead of “complete streets.”)  This checklist is designed to ensure that the needs of cyclists and pedestrians aren’t overlooked during the planning, programming, engineering or construction of a road project.  If they are ignoring these needs, the checklist is written to determine why.

Visit the MTC website to view the checklist and current list of evaluated projects

Unfortunately, this checklist falls short of being used to determine funding eligibility.  Cities and counties fill the form out but aren’t incentivized (or punished) for how well they are executing Complete Streets.  Because of this, BABC continues to recommend to MTC that they use the Checklist to help measure the worthiness of a project.

On the legislative front, AB1358, California’s Complete Streets bill, was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September 2008 and takes effect January 2011. This makes California the first state in the nation to ensure that all local streets and roads accommodate the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders, as well as motorists. Read more about this bill here.

The League of American Bicyclists National has championed complete streets legislation since 1994 and is a key member of the Complete Streets Coalition which includes AARP, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the American Planning Association, Smart Growth America, America Bikes, and many other organizations.

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